Sen. Paul Fogarty (D-Dist. 23, Glocester, Burrillville, North Smithfield) and Rep. Cale Keable (D-Dist. 47, Burrillville, Glocester) announced today their unequivocal opposition to Invenergy’s application to construct a 1,000-megawatt, fracked gas power plant in the heart of Burrillville’s idyllic village of Pascoag.
In a letter to the state’s Energy Facilities Siting Board, the Burrillville legislators stated that their opposition was the result of lengthy discussions with their constituents.
“As an initial matter, it must be stated that Burrillville has already done more than its fair share for the cause of the region’s energy needs,” Senator Fogarty and Representative Keable wrote in their letter.
“As you know, Burrillville already hosts a fossil fuel burning power plant and has done so for over two decades. Siting a second power plant in the same town does not comport with any rational notion of fairness. More importantly, having two power plants within five miles of one another raises serious concerns regarding cumulative negative health effects,” the letter continued.
“Additionally, the very residents who would be impacted most adversely by the proposed power plant have already endured – and continue to endure – the extreme inconvenience of a gas pipeline compression station located directly adjacent to the proposed site of this power plant. These residents have sacrificed enough of the quiet enjoyment of their homes. No more should be asked of them. We certainly should not ask them to suffer the loss in market value to their homes that the siting of this power plant would entail,” stated the letter.
In their letter, Senator Fogarty and Representative Keable noted that Burrillville and neighboring Glocester contain many of Rhode Island’s natural resources – a significant reason that so many people have chosen to live in those rural towns. The George Washington Management Area, Casimir Pulaski Memorial State Park, the Buck Hill Management Area, and the Black Hut Management Area are all in the immediate vicinity. There are also in the immediate vicinity numerous pristine bodies of water including Wilson’s Reservoir, Wakefield Pond, Round Lake, Wallum Lake, Pascoag Reservoir/Echo Lake, Pulaski Pond, Bowdish Reservoir and Lake Washington.
In regard to these natural resources, Representative Keable and Senator Fogarty stated that, “[t]o put these natural resources at risk by siting a colossal power plant in the middle of them would be unconscionable.”
Senator Fogarty and Representative Keable made a strong case in their letter that the proximity of Zambarano Hospital to the proposed power plant makes the location an especially bad idea.
The letter states, “[W]e view as sacrosanct our obligation to speak on behalf of the patients at Zambarano Hospital, many of whom lack the capacity to speak on their own behalf. Our friends at Zambarano Hospital are the very people that government exists to protect – government should not now put them in harm’s way.”
“Our concerns with regard to Zambarano are twofold. First, the hospital’s water supply is drawn directly from Wallum Lake. That water supply must be protected. Second, in the event that there were a catastrophe at the proposed power plant, it seems highly unlikely that the nearly 120 patients at Zambarano could possibly be evacuated in a safe manner. We understand that he likelihood of this contingency is low. Should it come to pass, however, the humanitarian crises it would create would be unfathomable.”
The letter also focused on the negative impact to the nearby town of Glocester and village of Chepachet.
“For our Glocester constituents, this proposed power plant promises only burden, without any corresponding benefit. For example, we have serious concerns that during the proposed construction of this power plant traffic flow through the historic village of Chepachet would be unworkable. The village of Chepachet is already burdened with heavy traffic during peak times.”
The letter noted that the traffic and congestion concerns will also be a problem for Burrillville residents.
“Our concerns regarding traffic extend not only to Glocester, but also to Burrillville and in particular to those living on Route 100. Obviously, the sheer amount of heavy traffic that would be involved in building the proposed power plant would be incredibly burdensome for anyone living on Wallum Lake Road. Our peaceful town would be subjected to nuisance activity of all kinds: congestion, noise, light, and, in all likelihood, dropping property values.”
Representative Keable and Senator Fogarty also took note that they both voted to support the Resilient Rhode Island Act of 2014 which calls for reductions of greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2025, 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2035, and 85 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. They noted that the proposed power plant is in likely violation of the Act by furthering the state’s reliance on fossil fuels.
[from a press release]